Legends: Ecuador’s Last Ice Man

Photo by Sindy and Mike Weltreise. 

Upon approaching Chimborazo Volcano’s natural border where birdsong fades and glaciers begin, the delicate sound of ice melting in the sun can be heard over the wind, like the crackle of toasted rice. Half a century ago, ice miners in this part of Ecuador would journey to the dormant volcano’s crest and return to city markets with blocks of ice for sale. But when electricity and the use of refrigerators became widespread in the region, the number of ice merchants gradually dwindled: today, Baltazar Ushca stands alone as the region’s final ice man. Continue Reading…


Spring Writing Contest!

We’re teaming up with Outside Magazine Executive Editor Sam Moulton for the first Nowhere Spring Travel Writing Contest. We are looking for novice and veteran voices, both near and far, with a powerful sense of place in their writing.

The winner will be awarded $1,000 and have the winning story published in an upcoming issue of Nowhere. The top 10 stories will be announced online and published here on our site. More details after the jump…

Spring 14 Contest NEW


Stories can be fiction or nonfiction, but writers should indicate which at the top of each submitted manuscript. Entries must be between 800-5,000 words and cannot have been previously chosen as a winner in another contest. Please indicate previously published work. There is a $15 entry fee and the deadline for submissions is Sunday, June 15, 2014 at midnight (ET). Submit entries here. Good luck!


Outlaws: Black Market Pesos

Photo by SpeakingLatino.

Counting (and recounting) stacks of bills gets old. Pablo Escobar of the Medellin cartel faced this problem, tracking his titanic profits from cocaine trafficking. In the infant days of the modern coke smuggling industry, money made in the U.S. was flown back to Colombia where either willing Colombian banks would keep it or individual cartel associates would stash it as petty cash, to cover operating costs. Eventually, traffickers switched to U.S. banks, which had both money counters and relatively loose restrictions on deposits. The money laundering laws requiring banks to report suspicious activity were first passed in the 1970s but were largely ignored by American banks, who would see sometimes as much as $250 million dumped into non-interest bearing checking accounts annually. Continue Reading…


Nowhereland: Stowaway

Photo by Filip Vidinovski.

The four-hour journey began for Victor Alvarez Molina with a phone call. Leave Cuba, his wife warned him. Though it remains unclear what desperate circumstances were behind the call that impelled the 22-year old Havana Airport employee to then flee his native country, what we know is that it wasn’t long before he had tucked himself inside the landing gear of an airplane bound for Montreal, Canada, in 2002. Stowaways of his kind have about a 20 percent chance of survival, and with only a windbreaker as his carry-on, Molina was ill-prepared against the potentially fatal temperatures which would drop to as low as -55 degrees Fahrenheit after the plane took off into the stratosphere. In his hand he clutched a picture of his daughter, and in his mind’s eye a rose-colored image of Montreal, bearing the faint promise of freedom and economic opportunity. For more than four hours he prayed, hoping to survive a journey that for most ends in death.

Continue Reading…

cover photo N10

Issue 10 is here!

Vanishing tribes of Saudi Arabia, the Land of Oz in North Carolina, lost in Myanmar, botany and romance in Costa Rica, fictional anthropology and much more… read it online now!

surf nowhere

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En Route: Lowlands to Highlands by Foot

William, the “old man in the bush” the Tourist Bureau had suggested, was waiting at the beach. William was small, about five feet flat, and somewhere in his sixties. He wore a short-sleeved button down, slacks, and sandals.

William led the foreigner up a rough foot trail that rose steeply into lush rainforest. There was nothing around them but greenness, enlivened by the sound of birds and insects. Splinters of light beat down through the trees and onto the forest floor. The trail was slippery, but William had no trouble, and every now and then he would ask the foreigner a question. Most of his questions involved things he’d heard but not been able to verify. Continue Reading…


Expats: Martin Luther Queen

Photo by Allan Warren.

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition,” wrote James Baldwin in Giovanni’s Room. Seeking sanctuary from the burdens of life as a queer black man in 1940s Harlem, Baldwin expatriated to Paris where he was able to begin demystifying what it meant to be an American, and where he created the works that would mark him as one of the best – and most critically contested – exile writers of all time. “Exile saved my life,” he reflected 13 years later. Continue Reading…


In The Field: The Prison Tree

Photo by Leonora Enking.

They arrived at the tree just before nightfall, with a dark honey sky above the scattered red rocks of The Kimberley. In silhouette, the 14 aboriginal prisoners — men and boys accused of unlawful possession of beef — gave the impression of a single long and curving creature, being joined by chains at the neck. They had walked over 250 miles across the outback of Western Australia, in the hottest month of the year.

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20fort600.1 ko sasaki for the NYTimes

Eye of the Beholder: Something Wonderful is about to Happy

Photo by Ko Sasaki.

“A gentleman is one who puts half his weight on elbows.” I know you know what that means. And if Wonton Food, Inc. in Long Island City had its way, you’d be convinced that such wisdom could only be the timeless philosophy of Confucius.

But alas, it’s hard to say exactly who the mastermind is behind the success of the three billion fortune cookies manufactured annually. What I can tell you is that it’s not the Chinese.

Continue Reading…